These Animals Don’t Care That It’s Freezing Outside

from Wildlife Promise

I was the first one to bust out my puffy jacket, gloves and hat to stay warm. I don’t like coffee, but I offer to hold other people’s drinks to warm my hands. I nuzzle my nose in my scarf. Similarly, the animals below have creative strategies to cope with the cold weather and are seemingly unaffected by the snow and ice. Bundle up & enjoy!

Great Gray Owl

Impeccable hearing to locate prey, feathered snow pants to stay warm, and talons to break through ice are just a few characteristics that help great gray owls hunt effectively in the snow. Just watch this great gray owl in action. Snow doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Great Gray Owl

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Robert Palmer.

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly bears hibernate during the winter months, but they don’t miss out on all the snow. Grizzlies can be quite active as they forage and prepare for winter. They can sense when it’s time to enter their winter den based on the cold temperatures or snow conditions.

Grizzly in the Snow

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Steve Mcmorran

Moose

Insulating fur allows moose to survive very cold conditions. Although their long legs can navigate through snow depths of up to 36 inches, they prefer to hang out in the forest where there is greater cover. As a general rule, they don’t shovel driveway with their antlers. Trust me, I asked.

Moose in the Snow

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Philippe Henry

Bison

These gigantic creatures have superb insulation. Bison have “thick skin and underfur, long guard hairs, and layers of fat,” according to Yellowstone National Park. Try to look at one and not feel cozy.

Bison in the Snow

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Mark Ditmer

Mallard

I have poor circulation, which means my feet are always freezing. I see mallards swimming and waddling around in snow and can’t help but wonder how their feet aren’t icicles. The answer lies within their unique heat-exchange system, called counter-current circulation. Arteries carrying warm blood from the heart are interwoven with veins carrying cold blood from the feet. The netlike pattern allows blood flowing to the body to be warmed, and blood flowing to the feet to be cooled.

Mallard in the Snow

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Jennifer Warner

Deer

These two deer are oblivious to the fact that it is frigid. Probably because their winter coat keeps them warm, even when it’s -30 degrees Fahrenheit outside! Each hair on a deer’s winter coat is hollow, trapping air that helps them retain heat. Quilts, window panes and house insulation all utilize air pockets in similar ways.

Deer Snow Kiss

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Jeanette Tasey

Squirrel

This time of year, squirrels look a little bulky. They increase their body mass as one way to stay warm during the winter. I tell people that’s why I eat so much, just putting on a winter layer for warmth.

Squirrel in the Snow

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Kelly Lyon

Red Fox

One of my favorite videos is of a red fox, diving head first into the snow to capture prey. Impressive. Take a look at some incredible fox photos we’ve collected from our Facebook community. I’m a sucker for the fluffy tail.

Cascade Red Fox in the Snow

Cascade red fox at Mt. Rainier National Park.

Cuddle With Wildlife

While we don’t offer real wildlife adoptions, we do have some adorable replicas you can cuddle up with to keep warm. Symbolically adopt one of the animals above, or browse more species: